Salt Lake Valley Science & Engineering Fair • March 18-20, 2014 • Rice Eccles Stadium Tower • Canyons, Granite, Murray, North Sanpete, Salt Lake, Park City, Salt Lake Valley Catholic Diocese & Tooele School Districts
Science Fair Goals Our primary goal is to excite students about science, engineering and math. It is also our intention to produce and maintain a continuous process that: • Encourages and rewards academic excellence. This includes the opportunity for senior division students to represent Utah at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. • Promotes balanced literacy and educational enrichment. • Provides hands on learning and real life application of information learned in the classroom, as well as, provide unique opportunities for independent achievement in science, engineering, math and technology. • Provides opportunities for professionals throughout the community to serve as mentors to young scientists and engineers. • Provides exciting opportunities for students to interact with each other and with professionals with similar interests.
Science Fair Goals • We award and encourage student efforts through recognition and prizes at the fair, however we firmly believe that beyond the cash and academic opportunities associated with winning projects, there is a reward of greater significance for every student that completes a science fair project. A science fair project is the ultimate answer to the often-asked question, “Why do I have to learn this stuff anyway?” It can also be a self-validating and exciting experience because it is not just practice. It involves real discovery of little known or even unknown information. This is the process we want to foster and encourage.
What to Expect (see handout) A grade appropriate understanding of scientific principles behind a student’s project is expected for all projects. You must therefore, customize your questions based on the grade level and maturity of the student. Baking Soda & Vinegar Example Elementary Level Understanding When baking soda and vinegar mix, a chemical reaction happens that makes gas. Junior High Understanding A 7th or 8th grader mightrecognize (1) that vinegar is a diluted acetic acid and baking soda is mostly sodium bicarbonate (2)The baking soda and vinegar experiment is really a 2 step chemical reaction, and (3)the gas produced by the reaction is carbon dioxide. High School Understanding A 12th grade student’s understanding builds upon their elementary and junior high learning and might include the ability to write out the chemical formulas for the reactions, give the chemical names for all of the reactants and products, classify the reactions by type, and be able to do stoichiometric analysis of their particular experiments and reactions in general. Used with permission from Science Buddies
Be prepared to wear many hats… • Professional Authority • Role Model • Facilitator • Counselor & Motivator • Evaluator
Top 10 Things a Judge Should Do • Work to put the students at ease – be genuine & smile. • Encourage conversation – encourage students to put away their distractions. • Listen actively. • Ask the students about their project, not just what they did. • Ask the students enough questions to satisfy yourself that they understood the project – when you have reached the student’s knowledge limit, STOP asking questions. • Let the students show their stuff – let them teach you something. • Give positive reinforcement to nourish self esteem. • Give one opportunity for improvement • Remember when you were 12 years old (or 10, or 15). • End the interview on a positive note.
Top 10 Things a Judge Should NOTDo! • Display Boredom. • Tally judging sheets in front of the students. • Make Assumptions. • Belittle the student or their project. • Spend your interview time talking about yourself. • Criticize or treat lightly. • Judge in teams. • Compare to projects seen in other competitions or scholastic events. • Refer to other projects you have seen. • Discuss winners or critical comments about particular projects in places where students or parents might overhear.
Statistical Information & Student Scores • SLVSEF normalizes judge scores and ranks projects accordingly using a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet. • As an individual judge’s scores are entered, a mean score and a standard deviation is calculated for each judge. • A “Z-score” is then calculated for eachscore a project receives from each judge. This is done by subtracting the judge’s mean from the project score and dividing it by the standard deviation. • An average Z-score is calculated for each project by averaging the Z-scores from all of the judges who scored each project. • The projects are then ranked based upon the Z-score averages. The project with the highest Z-score average ranks the highest in the category.
How to Pre-Judge a Project • Take a quick look at all of your assigned projects to get a feel for what they are about, what they look like and how they compare to each other. • Read through the project display board. Were you able to understand quickly what the experiment was and what the results were? • Read through the workbook, journal or lab-notes. The student should have one. • Write down your questions and compliments for use in the interview. • Remember that the physical display is SECONDARY to the student’s knowledge of the subject.
General Scoring (see handout) The project should demonstrate the use and understanding of the scientific method. While the neatness and organization of the display is important and scored separately, using the scientific method is most important. High Scores should go to: • A project that demonstrates the student’s full understanding. A simple project that the student understands should receive a higher score than a more sophisticated project that the student does not understand. • Innovative experimental procedures and or lab equipment that go above and beyond the original experiment and what is expected for the grade level. Low Scores should go to: • Apparent lack of research; many resources were available to the students throughout the project • Superfluous lab equipment or displays that do not relate to the experiment or were not aids in collecting data Used with permission from Science Buddies
Mentors All students will have received some kind of help with their project. Their project should reflect their knowledge and understanding. How do I figure this out as a judge? • The project notebook is critical. Judges should review the notebook to ensure students did the actual work. • Ask the student what help they received. • Ask the student questions about their methods and data analysis. Check for understanding of concepts. • Ask detailed questions that the student should be able to answer if they really did the work they say they did. Discussion ideas with SCVSEFA
Publicly Available Data Student experiments that are based upon the collection of publicly available data ARE legitimate projects. The students must ask a clear question, have a method for analyzing the data, and form a conclusion based on their results. The students must demonstrate that they did more than put together a research report. The focus should be on the data analysis process, but students should be able to explain how the data was recorded in the first place. Examples: 1. Sports statistics 4. Geographic data 2. Astronomy data 5. Weather data 3. Criminal statistics 6. Animal populations
Judging Tips • Arrive early and plan to stay through the entire judging interview period. • Pace yourself. Your interviews should last no longer than 10-15 minutes with each of the students. • Revise your scores as many times as you need. • If you are stuck on a project see your Category Chair or Science Fair representative. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. • Be consistent with your scoring. Don’t worry about how the other judges are scoring projects. • Please don’t give all of your projects the same score. • Judge the “best” and encourage the rest.
Frequently Asked Questions • Where will the judges be meeting at the science fair? Lobby Rice Eccles Stadium Tower, Gate C • Where should I park? SLVSEF: Rice Eccles Stadium Parking Lot • What should I wear? Professional dress or casual professional. • Do I have to stay the whole time? Please be prepared to stay the entire judging period. • What if a conflict arises and I can’t judge? Please notify your science fair contact immediately – it is very difficult (and close to impossible!) to find a replacement last minute. • What should I bring? A lot of enthusiasm! We will provide you with everything else you will need for judging.